Rugby Union


Injured Palmer focuses on helping Brumbies' finals push

INJURY ruined prop Dan Palmer's hopes of leaving Australia with a Super Rugby title but the ACT Brumbies front-rower is determined to play a role in the finals - as a part-time coach.

Scrum expert Palmer will miss the Brumbies' bid for a championship after having season-ending foot surgery three weeks ago.

The ''mechanical injury'' in his big toe ended his hopes of playing for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions and being part of the Super Rugby play-offs.

Palmer will leave Australian rugby in September to link with French club Grenoble.

But before he goes, Palmer is determined to help the Brumbies' title hopes by being a scrum coach.

''I couldn't put pressure [through my foot] and it was getting impossible for me to do my job for the Brumbies … I couldn't contribute in the way I have to at this level,'' Palmer said.


''It's frustrating, but I'll do whatever I need to do to give the Brumbies the best chance in the finals series. I'll spend a lot of time with the front-rowers and do some work and analysis for them.''

The Brumbies are preparing to play in the finals for the first time since 2004 after finishing the regular season against the Western Force on Saturday night.

They'll go into the play-offs with severely depleted prop stocks. Palmer and Ruaidhri Murphy (knee) are out for the season, leaving just three - the bare minimum fit props on the roster.

The Brumbies still have experienced Wallabies Ben Alexander and hooker Stephen Moore, while Scott Sio and Ruan Smith have been impressive.

Palmer is widely regarded as one of the most technically sound tight-head props in Super Rugby.

But his rise to the top has been hampered by injury - bizarrely the same problem in both feet over the past two seasons.

Palmer made his Test debut against Scotland last year, but was limited to just one Wallabies cap as he managed ligament, bone and joint problems in his big toe.

Less than 12 months on, and it's the same problem - this time in his left foot - and it cruelly ended his immediate Australian career.

The 24-year-old will play in France for at least the next year, and said: ''I'm not leaving Australia to come straight back''.

The set-piece-dominated European style suits Palmer's game.

''I'm excited about what lies ahead in France,'' Palmer said. ''You never know about the future and I might play more Super Rugby down the track.

''I'm going with no regrets … I've got a lot left in me so I'm going to France with an open mind.''